BGSU Magazine Summer 2009
Now Boarding an Amtrak Experience
In October 2008 my mom, her friend Goldie and I embarked on a “car ride” to South Carolina. My daughter needed a car and we were delivering one. But my mom does not fly, and at 89 years old I don’t blame her. Therefore, I decided we would take Amtrak back to Ohio.
What a wonderful experience that was! I hadn’t been on a train since 1973 and I was pleasantly surprised at the accommodations. The seats were spacious, reclined and gave you lots of legroom, though I’m short; so much more comfortable than the plane.
We boarded in Florence, S.C., before 1 a.m. and the gentle rocking of the moving train put me right to sleep, not that I needed any help. It was just so relaxing. The seats were two across; mom and Goldie sat together, I was across the aisle.
At 7 a.m. we were treated to a spectacular sunrise over a small inland lake. I couldn’t tear myself away from the view. The picture I took did not do it justice (like most of my photos)! We went down to the club car for coffee and a roll. We arrived at Union Station in Washington D.C., at 8:30 a.m. Our next train didn’t depart till 4:30 p.m. so it gave us a lot of time to explore.
I walked over to the Capitol and drank in the rich American history that poured forth from the sight. After 911 it just choked me up to think that beautiful building might have been destroyed. I was so proud to be an American at that moment!
Meanwhile, back at the station mom and Goldie had found the food court and were playing their ongoing game of rummy. Since Goldie had sprained her ankle she wasn’t doing too much walking, which suited my mother just fine. I, however, could not wait to explore the different levels of the stations. With shops and restaurants galore, I was on a quest to see if I could visit them all in such a sort amount of time. They even had a nine-screen cinema there which we took advantage of, since we had so much time.
Boarding the train home was even more exciting since it was late afternoon and I could wander around the different cars. There was a dining car, sleeping cars, a lounge car and a scenery car with windows going up to the overhead ceiling with seats that swiveled and faced the windows. There was so much to do on the train that you didn’t feel confined. Mom and Goldie found the lounge car and played cards most of the time. I read and relaxed, no getting tired driving.
It was an awesome trip, and because we had a little tag above our seat the conductor knew when he needed to tell us we were at our stop, Elyria, even though it was 3:30 a.m. For my mom and Goldie, well, it was a trip of a lifetime!
Linda DePalma Zanni ’71 | Education